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How to fix a dripping shower head

Tips to help you stop your showerhead leaking

Wednesday 7th July 2021

Is there anything more irritating than the constant drip, drip, drip of a leaking showerhead? If the noise itself isn’t enough to drive you crazy, then knowing that all that water is going to waste might be. A dripping showerhead can waste up to 5,500 litres of water each year, which is not only bad for the planet, but for your bills too. What’s more, if the leak is coming from your shower valve, it could be leaking behind your bathroom walls too. Over time this can lead to dry rot, mould and structural problems, which can be dangerous and expensive to repair, so it pays to resolve the issue as soon as it arises. Below we look into why your showerhead might be leaking, with step-by-step tips to fix the problem.

Why is my shower head leaking? 

There are several potential causes of a leaky showerhead. It could be that your showerhead is in need of a good clean, as a build-up of dirt, grime and limescale can affect the water flow and cause blockages that can result in leaks. 

More often than not, a dripping showerhead is the result of worn or damaged inner seals. The rubber washers or O-rings in your shower act as a seal between your showerhead and shower hose, preventing water from leaking out. Over time, these wear down, and when they do, water starts to leak out.  

The leak can also be caused by worn or damaged washers or O-rings in the shower’s valve.  

Working out why your shower is leaking is often a process of elimination, and the next section guides you through the steps you should take to get to the bottom of the problem. 

How to fix a leaky shower head 

1.Turn off your water supply 

Before you get started, turn off the water supply to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on. 

2.Clean the shower head 

Remove your showerhead from the hose, taking care not to lose the O-ring or rubber washer, then soak your showerhead in vinegar for at least 30 minutes. Rinse it with water and use an old toothbrush to remove any stubborn dirt, grime and limescale, paying close attention to the individual nozzles. Rinse it again, then set the showerhead aside.  

Learn more about how to clean and descale your showerhead with our step-by-step guide.  

3. Check for a worn seal 

Your O-ring or rubber washer is the component that prevents water from leaking between your showerhead and hose. Check to see if it looks worn or damaged, and if so, replace it with a new one.  

4. Reattach the shower head and turn on the water 

Put your showerhead back together, reattach it to the hose, turn the water supply back on, and turn on your shower to flush out any remaining dirt and grime. Hopefully this has done the trick and your showerhead has now stopped leaking, but if not, move on to step 5. 

5. Turn your attention to the valve 

If you’ve followed all these steps and your showerhead is still leaking, there is likely a problem with a valve in your shower taps. If you have two separate taps – one for hot water and one for cold water – you'll first need to identify which one is leaking by feeling the temperature of the dripping water (you’ll need to turn the water supply back on to do this, and turn it back off once you’ve determined which tap is faulty). 

Unscrew the handle of the tap – the screw may be hidden under a cap – and replace any rubber washers and O-rings to ensure you’ve done everything you can to resolve the issue. Put everything back together, turn on your water supply and test your shower to see if this has fixed the leak. 

If the problem persists, or if you aren’t fully confident that you can do this yourself, we recommend hiring a professional to come and take a look. If you own a Mira shower, get in touch with our repair and care team who will happily assist you and help to solve the problem. 

If you’ve realised that your showerhead has seen better days and you think it’s time to replace it with a new one, explore our range of showerheads to upgrade your showering experience.